Hiroshima And The New York Times – Let’s Rewrite History Two Subversive Words At A Time

On The 72nd Anniversary Of The Dropping Of The Atomic Bomb On Hiroshima – The New York Times Tries To Innocuously Rewrite History Two Subversive Words At A Time

Maybe you didn’t notice but It seems like every day The New York Times tries to pass off several pieces of propaganda as articles. There’s always something to infuriate any free thinking person.

Enola Gay Crew who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima Aug 6, 1945

If you read the Saturday, August 5 Op-ed pages of the New York Times you may have seen a contributed piece by Ariel Dorfman, author and emeritus professor of literature at Duke University. The op-ed was entitled The Whispering Leaves of the Hiroshima Ginkgo Trees. The inconsequential article is not what disturbed me. It was one line slipped in to make an almost subliminal  impression upon the reader. Referring to a Mr. Takahashi, a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Dorfman writes, “By then middle-aged, his body was a testament to that war crime and its aftermath.”

War crime? The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima was a “war crime”?

In 2005 I attended an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. The exhibit was commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Enola Gay mission in World War II.  There was a video presentation about the Enola Gay’s mission which included interviews with the crew before and after the mission including  pilot Col. Paul Tibbets. To say it was a powerful exhibit would be an understatement.

For those too young to remember or do not know their history, the Enola Gay was a B-29 bomber plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Three days later another B-29, Bockscar, dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

Before deciding to use an atomic bomb the Allies insisted that Japan unconditionally surrender, as their defeat was inevitable. Japan refused.

Over 145,000 people died in the initial blasts. Thousands of Japanese civilians died of the injuries they sustained in the years that followed.

The end result of those bombings? Japan surrendered to the Allies the following week on August 15, 1945 and World War II was over.

There was a comment book at the end of the exhibit where visitors could record their name age, address and comment on what they had seen. Walking over to that book and thumbing through it I read to my surprise quite a few people had written essentially the same thing: the United States was wrong to drop the bombs. Others went so far to say that we never should have used the weapons and fought it out until the Japanese surrendered. The people who wrote these comments were all under the age of 40.

I wrote a short comment. I’ll say it again here for the edification of Mr. Dorfman, the editorial staff of the New York Times and any history revisionists.

Killing civilians in war is a byproduct of the wickedness of war. But it was a good thing the United States used those bombs. We didn’t start this war, but we ended it.

Let me correct Mr. Dorfman (born 1942) and the seriously uninformed, mostly those who were not alive during the conflict, the use of those bombs saved hundreds of thousands of lives and was not a “war crime.”

The Japanese unprovoked, surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was a war crime. The Japanese torturing of POW’s was a war crime. The Bataan Death March was a war crime. The Japanese sinking of hospital ships was a war crime. The conscription and rape of over 200,000 civilian women for Japanese army brothels was a war crime.

People forget, before the United States used its atomic bombs, they dropped incendiary bombs on Tokyo twice. Over 225,000 people were killed in those two attacks alone. The Japanese still did not surrender.

All the members of my family who served in the armed forces survived World War II. Over 419,000 United States soldiers were not so fortunate.

As Karl Compton wrote in the December 1946 issue of The Atlantic magazine,

“About a week after V-J Day I was one of a small group of scientists and engineers interrogating an intelligent, well-informed Japanese Army officer in Yokohama. We asked him what, in his opinion, would have been the next major move if the war had continued. He replied: “You would probably have tried to invade our homeland with a landing operation on Kyushu about November 1. I think the attack would have been made on such and such beaches.”

“Could you have repelled this landing?” we asked, and he answered: “It would have been a very desperate fight, but I do not think we could have stopped you.”

“What would have happened then?” we asked.

He replied: “We would have kept on fighting until all Japanese were killed, but we would not have been defeated,” by which he meant that they would not have been disgraced by surrender.

It is easy now, after the event, to look back and say that Japan was already a beaten nation, and to ask what therefore was the justification for the use of the atomic bomb to kill so many thousands of helpless Japanese in this inhuman way; furthermore, should we not better have kept it to ourselves as a secret weapon for future use, if necessary? This argument has been advanced often, but it seems to me utterly fallacious.

the use of the atomic bomb saved hundreds of thousands—perhaps several millions—of lives, both American and Japanese; that without its use the war would have continued for many months; that no one of good conscience knowing, as Secretary Stimson and the Chiefs of Staff did, what was probably ahead and what the atomic bomb might accomplish could have made any different decision.”

The New York Times with its self-hating revisionist view of America, just let that “war crime” mention slip in to this op-ed.


Calling the use of the atomic bomb a “war crime” is an outrageous false assertion of the reality that was faced by Americans who lived through this time. During the uncertainty of World War II, every soldier’s parent wanted the war to end and their child to be spared. The use of the bomb did just that.

On this, the 72nd anniversary of a horrendous event in history, don’t look back and try to revise history or insinuate that we are guilty of “war crimes.” The Times editorial board and Mr. Dorfman should be ashamed for allowing those false two words to be used.

The use of the atomic bomb was no “war crime.”

War itself is a crime.

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9 thoughts on “Hiroshima And The New York Times – Let’s Rewrite History Two Subversive Words At A Time

  1. Guillaume

    Irrespective of its effectiveness, both strategic and tactical, the modern understanding is that the deliberate targeting of civilians by a party of a conflict is a war crime. That being said, I believe this was not the case in 1945, so it is a modern reading of an old event (which is not forbidden).
    The facts that both bombardments ended the war, saved many lives and countless other explanations are irrelevant to the fact that it was a war crime by modern standards, as were the bombardments of Tokyo, Dresden or Nuremberg, and, of course, the countless crimes of the Nazis and Japanese military during the war.

  2. phil

    Outstanding commentary. Anyone who doesn’t agree what has been written in this article is sadly misinformed, and or a professional contrarian. Nearly without exception, professional historians agree with this take on the A-Bombs…

  3. Merasmus

    Oh, revisionism? You mean like neglecting to mention that the Japanese had already been attempting to surrender for months via Moscow mediation, and that the US was fully aware of those efforts. Or that the dispute between the Japanese peace and war parties was about whether to surrender unconditionally, or to attempt to stage an epic final battle (kessen) that would inflict such heavy American casualties that Washington would agree to a conditional surrender, and not a dispute between surrender and some sort of civilization last-stand. Or how about the little fact that in the end MacArthur allowed the Japanese to keep their Emperor anyway, which was their number one demand? The atomic bombings weren’t needed to begin with, and ultimately failed in their ostensibly goal anyway.

  4. AZDesertRat

    Correction: “the Enola Gay was a B-29 bomber plane that dropped atomic bombs on two Japanese cities, Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and three days later Nagasaki.”

    “Bockscar” was the B-29 that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki.

  5. Clyde Sikorski

    I was born about 1 1/2 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so I have no memory of of the bombs or of V-J Day. But I learned pretty early on that those bombs ended WWII, and later on I came to appreciate that they saved perhaps a million lives — ours and theirs. My dad might have been one of them. He had finished up his 35 missions as a B-17 radio operator/waist gunner in the 91st BG (H) in Europe at the end of January 1945. He could have ended up flying B-29 missions over Japan that autumn if not for those bombs. Instead he was stateside in time to marry my mom in November.

  6. Kevin

    As the WW II generation dies off, it becomes harder to remember the truth of the war, and why it was fought. Younger people learn through teachers and writers that may have their own agendas, rather than just giving the facts. Call it “fake history”.

  7. Baby Gerald

    Thanks for the excellent commentary on a seriously important topic. The added effect of mislabeling the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks as ‘war crimes’ is the devaluation of the term so as to include any horrific act that occurs during a conflict. I wonder perhaps, if Mr. Dorfman would have a different attitude toward the use of the first atomic weapons if, say, they were used instead to punish Nazi Germany for its genocidal policies and to urge the Germans to end their war.

    I’d say the New York Times is useful for birdcage lining, but I have better respect for birds.

  8. Jon

    Revisionism seems to be getting worse with every passing day. The internet is full of it, so I guess it’s not too surprising that newspaper articles would start including it as well. It’s kind of scary to think about how many people that read this piece, by a guy that is clearly suffering from “white guilt”, and either agreed with/believed it that nonsensical statement. Now, if only there were a way to get your very well written and logical response into that very same paper!


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